CUM LAUDE MASTER’S IN CHEMISTRY: NO SHORT CUTS TO GREATNESS
By Qhawekazi Memani 14 December 2021
Growing up in Franceville, South-East of Gabon, a town of the Haut-Ogooue province. The third largest city of the country, Theo Moundzounga’s journey at the Vaal University of Technology began in 2013 when he registered for a National Diploma in Analytical Chemistry.
“The experience was quite good. When you do what you like, you always find strength to carry on. I will not say that everything went smoothly. At times I felt overwhelmed, I felt the weight of course, especially for my masters: reading several articles, spending extra hours in the laboratory, sleepless night, stress, to name only few. Then after the rain, comes the rainbow. Here I am today graduating, “said Theo.
On 22 November Theo was honoured with a CUM Laude for master’s degree in chemistry under the thesis: ‘Development of a sensitive electrochemical sensor based on carbon dots and graphitic carbon nitride for the detection of 2-chlorophenol and arsenic (III) in water’.
The aim of his research study is to develop a sensitive electrochemical sensor using a nanocomposite of graphitic carbon nitride and carbon dots as an electrode modifier for the determination of arsenic (III), 2-chlorophenol in water. Theo’s supervisors were the late Prof. A.E. Ofomaja who passed away last year. “May his soul rest in peace” His main supervisor then became: Dr. M.J. Klink, co-supervisors were: Dr. E.O. Oseghe & Dr. M.G. Peleyeju
“With the growing of some industry activities, several toxic water contaminants are being released in water streams; then when their concentrations exceed the permissible limits, they may have negative impact on humans and the environment: my research work aims to develop a sensitive electrode to quickly and efficiently detect and quantify water pollutants using electrochemical methods”.
Sharing how he feels to graduate with one of the highest honours Theo said: “Graduating with a cum laude definitely feels great, it gives you a sense of accomplishment, it is like a reward after the amount of work you have put in, I am thankful to the Almighty God for the strength and good health throughout this journey! A big thanks to my supervisors and friends who helped me to achieve this milestone.”
Theo is in the process of getting a job. “Right now, I am giving some chemistry private classes to few students, and I am also busy setting up a foundation for a lucrative activity/business.” Theo has no kids at this moment and not yet married. His family is very proud of him for getting this master’s degree, he is the first in his family to study in an English-speaking country and graduate.
Giving advice to fellow students and people looking to study further Theo said: “there is no magic or shortcuts to greatness, whatever you invest your heart and time in, you end up mastering it and winning. It is about determination and focus’’. He added: “pray, work diligently, and then reap your harvest.”
Theo plans to deepen his knowledge in water and wastewater treatment field, acquire license and certificate that will enable him to provide water care services and probably start a water treatment plants.
His studies were funded by National Research Foundation.
Moundzounga, T.H., Peleyeju, M.G., Sanni, S.O., Klink, M.J., Oseghe, E., Viljoen, E. and Ofomaja, A.E., 2021. A Nanocomposite of Graphitic Carbon Nitride and Carbon Dots as a Platform for Sensitive Voltammetric Determination of 2-chlorophenol in Water. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ELECTROCHEMICAL SCIENCE, 16(5).Link to the article; http://electrochemsci.org/papers/vol16/210560.pdf